Thursday, April 16, 2009

NYT Friday 4/17/09 - Eerily Blitzed

I found this Friday New York Times crossword very very tough. In fact, I was so pleased to actually fill in all of the grid that I didn't get too upset about a couple of wrong answers: I didn't know Jin-Soo Kwon from Lost, nor arroz, and about a 4/5th chance of getting the wrong crossing.

I really love the fill of the grid, which is (not surprisingly) pangrammatic: every letter of the alphabet is used once. But if Friday's crossword leaves me feeling eerily blitzed, I hate to think what we're going to be faced with on Saturday - traditionally the hardest NYT puzzle of the week.
Solving time: 55 mins (no cheating, two wrong answers)
Clue of the puzz: 31a piers {Where many lines are dropped}

Corey Rubin
Grid art by Sympathy [about the grid colors]

CompilersCorey Rubin / Will Shortz
Grid15x15 with 35 (15.6%) black squares
Answers68 (average length 5.59)
Theme squares0 (0.0%)
Scrabble points335 (average 1.76)
New To Me

Texas BBQ6a Texas BBQ {Slow-smoked Southern grub}. This is a great answer to get into a puzzle: lots of low frequency letters, a four-consonant sequence and a Q at the end - defying expectations in several ways. Apparently even Texas barbecues come in four different styles - who knew?

Arroz con Frijoles35a arroz {Frijoles go-with}. Time to fill another gap in Español para los crucigramistas. The Spanish for rice doesn't come up that often, but when it does, you'd better know it - there's sure to be an obscure crossing like Jin-Soo Kwon.

2d Cahill {John Wayne title marshal of 1973}. Cahill U.S. Marshal was a typical Western vehicle for its star.

27d ruer {Monday morning quarterback, maybe}. I hope I got this answer right. From reading definitions I get the sense that the Monday morning quarterback deprecates the actions of others - I think of a ruer as someone feeling remorse for his/her own actions.

Jin30d Kwon {"Lost" character Jin-Soo ___}. Aaargh! Not Lost again and (critically) crossing with a Spanish answer I don't know (hmm ... anagram of Kwon).

34d day-peep {Crack of dawn, old-style}. A bit obscure, but colorful and guessable. According to The Chambers Dictionary, it's used by John Milton. You don't need to know any more about day-peeps - they're nothing compared to night-peeps:


17a mirandize {Read rights to, as a perp}. "Read" is a nasty trick a compiler can pull: you can't tell whether it's the present or past tense. I assumed the latter, hoping mirandaed would work, until it clearly didn't. In Britain, the standard caution doesn't have such a colorful term - it goes:
You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention, when questioned, something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.
fishing pier18a oil {Work in a gallery}; 31a piers {Where many lines are dropped}. A couple of great misleading clues - tough to pick a favorite.

32a MTWTF {Appt. book headings}. A very nasty answer: not at all what I was expecting, so it was great to see through it when I realized that it had to end F. Is it any coincidence that the end of the New York Times solving week goes WTF?!

37a four one one {Information, slangily}. I got lucky with this one: Magdalen dropped the 4-1-1 into a conversation earlier in the week and had to explain what it meant. The UK equivalent is directory enquiries, which used to be 192, until deregulation allowed a myriad private companies to give out the same information using 118 followed by another three digits. The 118 118 service had memorable ads which upset a number of athletes who thought they were being parodied.

AME Church48a AME {Letters in some church names}. Back in February, I found out about the African Methodist Episcopal Church and African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. It took a while to see AME was wanted here, though - I kept thinking it must be something to do with Greek letters.

The Red Planet53a Red Planet {Our neighbor's nickname, with "the"}. I started thinking this must be about the compiler's neighbor - that can't be! Theory number 2 was that it referred to Canada or Mexico - wrong again. It was great to finally see what was wanted.

3d uvulae {Anatomical hangers}. The uvula hangs down at the back of your mouth. Uvulae seem to feature prominently any time a cartoon character gets swallowed.

12d Bozeman {Montana State University setting}. Another clue I got lucky with: Bozeman, MT is the skiing area favored by our neighbors for their winter retreats.

15d imarets {Near Eastern hospices}. Strangely I have come across imaret a lot in cryptic crosswords. Its vowel consonant alternation seems to make it crop up in a lot of fills.
imaret n (in Turkey) an inn or hospice for travellers.
From The Chambers Dictionary
Warren Buffett39d Omahan {Warren Buffett, e.g.}. This one turned out easier than I thought, thanks to the investor's nickname, the Sage of Omaha.

The Rest

1a scuse {Apologies, in Apulia}; 14a eaves {Some nest sites}; 15a I've got you {"No, no, this one's on me"}; 16a thugs {Many rappers' personas}; 19a on a dime {One way to turn}; 21a tes {Parisian possessive}; 22a flab {Something Mr. Olympia lacks}; 24a a role {Play ___}; 25a bsmt. {Rec rm. locale, often}; 26a fleur-de-lys {French kings' emblem}; 28a leas {Picnic places}; 29a nuits {Dark times abroad}; 30a kiln {Hot pot spot}; 34a door {It can be cracked}; 36a sawn {Like lumber in a mill}; 42a ayes {Side for passage}; 43a end it {Split up}; 44a D maj. {Key of Mahler's Symphony No. 1: Abbr.}; 45a NPR {"Fresh Air" airer}; 46a in light {Considering, with "of"}; 49a deals with {Handles}; 51a ethic {Puritan ___}; 54a meant {Not inadvertent}; 55a open-eyed {On the lookout}; 56a pangs {Fast results?}.

1d set-off {Depart}; 4d seg {Div.}; 5d esso {Petrol brand}; 6d TV idols {Stars of "90210," e.g.}; 7d eerily {How something might be familiar}; 8d X Games {Event held each summer and winter}; 9d a one {Crack}; 10d std. {Not an upgrade: Abbr.}; 11d by itself {Per se}; 13d quests {Story lines of Indiana Jones films}; 20d nadir {Depths of despair}; 23d bunions {Podiatrists' concerns}; 25d blitzed {Overwhelmed and destroyed}; 31d POWERade {Coca-Cola product}; 32d Mr Right {The perfect match, for some}; 33d troth {Loyalty}; 35d audited {Like some classes and books}; 36d Sandro {Painter Botticelli}; 37d Fenway {Park since 1912}; 38d on-line {How some people shop}; 40d naming {Kind of ceremony}; 41d ejects {Sends packing}; 46d isle {Singapore, for one}; 47d temp {Certain sub}; 50d LPN {Hosp. employee}; 52d tea {Event at which some people wear gloves}.


Aviatrix said...

You're going to have to bone up on Spanish doing American crosswords. There's a lot of it in the vernacular. Also: baseball. If there's any chance a clue is about baseball, it is.

Crossword Man said...

Thanks for the tips. I'm adding words to Español para los crucigramistas as fast as I can, but those nasty compilers keep coming up with new ones!